3:40am

Wed August 15, 2012
All Tech Considered

Twitter Lets Customers Skip Recordings, And Make Choices

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 8:48 am

For customer Laura Hargrove, the choice between moving-truck companies Budget and Penske came down to how they use Twitter.
NPR

Once used mostly for one-time promos and marketing, Twitter is now something businesses are relying on to provide customer service. For instance, Southwest Airlines tweets to alert folks about delays. And Best Buy responds to questions and complaints via Twitter. And they're not alone.

Let's say you're thinking of ordering a pair of shoes online and you want to know the store's exchange policy. You could pick up the phone — but then you'll hear the old recording: "To ensure quality service, your call may be monitored or recorded."

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3:39am

Wed August 15, 2012
Law

The Law — And Reality — Of Gun Access

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 6:44 am

Federal law bars gun sales to the mentally ill only if they've ever been deemed by a judge to be mentally incompetent or involuntarily committed. States reporting of such things to the federal database is spotty, and very often, it doesn't show up when a gun seller does a background check.
Gabriel Bouys AFP/Getty Images

Timothy Courtois' family had been worried about him for weeks. They repeatedly told police in Biddeford, Maine, that the 49-year-old was off his meds for bipolar disorder. And police were also told he had guns. But still, because he wasn't doing anything that rose to the legal definition of imminent threat, police said their hands were tied.

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3:38am

Wed August 15, 2012
National Security

Taliban Showing New Willingness On Prisoner Swap

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 5:14 am

This image provided by IntelCenter on Dec. 8, 2010, shows a frame grab from a video released by the Taliban containing footage of a man believed to be Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. The 26-year-old Army sergeant was captured by the Taliban more than three years ago.
AP

There are new glimmers of hope for the only known U.S. prisoner of war held captive in Afghanistan — 26-year-old Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured by the Taliban more than three years ago. After lengthy discussions, it appears his captors may be more receptive than ever before to finding a way to send him home.

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3:34am

Wed August 15, 2012
Around the Nation

Young Illegal Immigrants Seek To Avoid Deportation

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 8:21 am

Young people brought to the U.S. illegally began applying for a deportation deferral and a two-year work permit on Wednesday. It's the boldest immigration program yet by the Obama administration — putting into effect elements of the so-called DREAM Act even though it has not passed Congress.

Lizbeth Mateo has high school and college diplomas from California and evidence that she has been in the country continuously for at least five years. What she wants now is assurance that she won't be deported.

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2:51am

Wed August 15, 2012
Humans

Changing Climate May Have Led To Earliest Mummies

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 5:14 am

a recent National Geographic story shows a long-buried corpse, preserved by one of Earth's driest climates, Chile's Atacama Desert, where it has retained centuries-old skin, hair and clothing." href="/post/changing-climate-may-have-led-earliest-mummies" class="noexit lightbox">
A photo from a recent National Geographic story shows a long-buried corpse, preserved by one of Earth's driest climates, Chile's Atacama Desert, where it has retained centuries-old skin, hair and clothing.
Enrico Ferorelli National Geographic

A couple of thousand years before the Egyptians preserved some of their dead, a much simpler society made the first known mummies.

The Chinchorros, the first mummy makers, lived about 7,000 years ago in South America, on the coast near the border between modern-day Peru and Chile. The desert area where they lived was so dry, dead people turned into mummies naturally.

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2:48am

Wed August 15, 2012
The Record

My American Dream Sounds Like The White Stripes

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 3:27 pm

The White Stripes.
Autumn De Wilde Courtesy of the artists

10:03pm

Tue August 14, 2012
Sweetness And Light

Feeling Just Wild About Wild Cards

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 1:46 pm

Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones is out at second against Kansas City Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar. Despite less-than-stellar statistics, the Orioles are contenders in the American League wild-card race.
Nick Wass AP

Bud Selig, the commissioner of baseball, has persuaded his owners and the players to add an extra wild-card team to the playoffs, so now five teams per league will qualify.

Not only is this terrific for the fans, but Selig also wisely managed to make it so that the wild-card teams engage in a one-game showdown for the privilege of being the team that joins the three division winners in the battle for the league championship.

I have just the old-fashioned word for this newfangled development: nifty.

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6:51pm

Tue August 14, 2012
The Two-Way

Fast-Moving Washington Wildfire Burns 60 Homes

As embers still smolder, family members sift through the remains of their home that was destroyed in a wildfire.
Elaine Thompson AP

A wildfire burning near Cle Elum, Wash., has destroyed 60 homes, as it rushed through 45-square-miles of land.

The Seattle Times reports that the fire is still on the move and more homes and ranches are in its path.

The Times adds:

"The fire is proving difficult to fight.

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6:27pm

Tue August 14, 2012
Election 2012

Will Florida Seniors Accept Ryan's Medicare Vision?

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 1:07 pm

An audience member looks on during a campaign rally for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney in St. Augustine, Fla., on Monday.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's choice of Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate may help energize support from conservative voters who like his tough approach to overhauling the federal budget.

But there's a risk that Ryan may turn off an important voting bloc: senior citizens.

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5:29pm

Tue August 14, 2012
London 2012: The Summer Olympics

Medalist Claressa Shields Gets A Hero's Welcome

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 1:07 pm

Olympian Claressa Shields visits the USA House in London before leaving for her home in Flint, Mich. Shields was greeted by a marching band and a motorcycle escort in her hometown.
Joe Scarnici Getty Images for USOC

Hundreds gathered in Flint, Mich., Tuesday, to celebrate the return home of Olympian Claressa Shields. At 17, Shields became the first U.S. woman ever — and the only American this summer — to win a gold medal in boxing.

In a rare moment of joy, Flint greeted the high school student with a marching band and a motorcycle escort.

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